What Are Implants?

  • Small plastic rods or capsules, each about the size of a matchstick, that release a progestin like the natural hormone progesterone in a woman’s body.
  • A specifically trained provider performs a minor surgical procedure to place the implants under the skin on the inside of a woman’s upper arm.
  • Do not contain estrogen, and so can be used throughout breastfeeding and by women who cannot use methods with estrogen.
  • Many types of implants:

– Jadelle: 2 rods, effective for 5 years
– Implanon: 1 rod, effective for 3 years (studies are underway to see if it lasts 4 years)
– Norplant: 6 capsules, labeled for 5 years of use (large studies have found it is effective for 7 years)

  • Work primarily by:

– Thickening cervical mucus (this blocks sperm from meeting an egg)
– Disrupting the menstrual cycle, including preventing the release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation)


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